Strzelin – town hall


   In 1292, Prince Bolko carried out the foundation and connection of the knight settlement on the left bank of Oława, the so-called Old Town and the settlement at the church of St. Gothard, giving the voigt office of the newly formed Strzelin to a certain Siegfried. The hereditary voigt stood at the head of the town until the mid-fourteenth century, but already in 1316 a four-member council appeared next to him. The town bought the voigt office in 1349, receiving from the prince of Ziębice Nicholas the Small the right to independently choose councilors, while a judicial authority, a four-person court, was mentioned in Strzelin as early as in 1297.
   The establishment of the municipal government required appropriate rooms, which is why the town hall building was erected in the first half of the 14th century. In 1520, its late medieval rebuilding began, completed six years later, but in 1548 the Gothic building was destroyed by fire. In the 1560s a Renaissance rebuilding took place, which incorporated a west commercial building into the town hall.
   The early modern history of the town hall was marked by its extremely frequent damages. In 1619, another town fire damaged the town hall tower, which was rebuilt a year later. Despite this, in 1648 its upper part collapsed, which had to be rebuilt the following year. The town fire in 1706 partly destroyed the town hall and the tower, while the town hall tower itself was destroyed again during the storm in 1817. After another fire of the town from 1822, the town hall was rebuilt in neo-Gothic forms, at the same time demolishing, among others upper part of the Renaissance attic. Military operations in 1945 led to the total destruction of the building, only the quadrangular, oldest fragment of the tower’s base remained. In 2004–2005 research and conservation works were carried out, and a few years later the upper part of the tower was rebuilt.


   The town hall in Strzelin was located in the southern part of the almost square market measuring 115 x 115 meters, while the market square was marked out in the town center, close to a rectangle in plan. The division between two meridional and two parallel lines of streets coming out of the corners of the market drew attention to its almost perfect division, so you could get to the seat of the city authorities from any city gate. The extent of the town to the north and south was to correspond to three widths of the market square, with the central square on which the town hall was erected, was one of the largest in Silesia. According to the census of 1331, there were 55 “wealthy” houses next to it. The town hall was also adjacent in the mid-market block to the long merchants’ house (cloth hall), mentioned for the first time in 1344, at which gingerbread makers stalls were at the corner, and herring stalls at the eastern wall. Parallel to the cloth hall were temporary makeshift soap seller’s stalls, further west were meat, bread, footwear stalls and counters of the richest traders. In 1354, the prince granted permission to organize hay, fodder, lard stalls as well as cropping house stalls. Eight years later, 12 cloth stands and at least 6 for wealthy traders stalls were built.
   The oldest stone building of the town hall block was probably a square tower with an external dimension in the ground floor of 10.6 x 10.6 meters. Its lower floor served as a dungeon, and above it was a vaulted room, heated with a fireplace, which was the place of interrogation or a guard’s chamber. It was connected by internal stairs in the thickness of the wall to the upper, vaulted room, turned into a prison room in the Middle Ages. Above the tower walls were of octagon form.
   A stone town hall of an L-shaped plan was added to the tower from the south and east, probably in the first third of the 14th century. The town hall’s basements housed a beer tavern and a beer or wine store. On the first floor there was a room for councilors with the place for a town scribe, the town archives and a hall for lay judges and a court scribe. In the attic there was a two-room prison, while the vaulted ground floor was the seat of the chancellary and the house of weight.
   From the west, two rows of stalls were added to the town hall tower, initially probably of half-timbered structure, and in the late Middle Ages converted into a stone, two-lane and six-part commercial building with basement, consisting of five stalls.

Current state

   To this day, the quadrangular base of the tower has survived in its original condition, while the upper one has been reconstructed in recent years in early modern style. A stone judge’s table has been preserved at the tower, probably from the 15th century. Unfortunately, the monument is today surrounded by nightmarish housing developments built on the site of former tenement houses during communism.

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Atlas historyczny miast polskich. Tom IV Śląsk, red. R.Czaja, M.Młynarska-Kaletynowa, D.Adamska, zeszyt  10 Strzelin, Wrocław 2017.

Website, Ratusz.